First part of festival programme released

ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival is an international live art festival held annually in Kuopio, Finland. The festival’s focus is on projects by artists from around the world that explore and explode urban space. This year the festival will take place between 13th and 18th September.

– ANTI Festival is undergoing a year of transformation. Just like the festival looking for its own, new path – while always sprawling out of any pre-defined positions – through the works selected for this year’s festival we will get on a journey. Many of the artworks also examine connections between different periods of time and use collective rituals to look for things that we still can – or find it impossible to – believe in and commit to in a world overshadowed by crises, tells Elisa Itkonen, Lead Curator of the festival.

The festival programme presents live art works by international and Finland based artists in many different locations at the Kuopio City. All events are free of charge for the audience. Once again, the festival week will culminate with the announcement of the winner of the ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art. The 2022 shortlist and the Shortlist LIVE! programme will be published later this spring. We will also get to experience the artworks of previous years’ winners at this year’s festival.

The programme looks past our anthropocentric worldview, the history & potential futures

In their performance Fixit, Kaino Wennerstrand (FI) intends to sing, play dead and answer the questions of the audience about the European Union. The Church of 4 FLOOR OF WHORES (FI/DE) is a cavalcade performance that allows us to escape the toxicity of our hyper-capitalist world in the spirit of Bacchanalia. Herbarium by Aleksandra Jakubczak (PL) and her team is a multisensory performance that teaches us to see past our anthropocentric worldview and engage in a spiritual connection with plants. Plant Based Stories by Pia Sirén, Mirella Pendolin and Ilona Valkonen (FI) is a project spanning several years that also involves discovering our relationship with nature. In the first phase of the project, an oasis open to everyone appears in Kuopio city centre. Anyone can go to the oasis to create and dress up plant sculptures and share stories inspired by the plant kingdom during the activity.

Janis Balodis (LV) and Nahuel Cano’s (AR/NL) Last Night of the Deer performance is also based on frustration with our anthropocentric worldview. The performance takes us on a road trip in the intermediary space somewhere between the human and non-human. Action Hero (UK) are travelling to Kuopio with their Oh Europa camper van already for the second time. This time, the artists will compile a sound journal on their journey between the Homo Novus Festival in Riga and ANTI Festival in Kuopio. In addition to festivalgoers in Riga and Kuopio, people in cities such as Tallinn and Helsinki can lend their voices to the Oh Europa sound art piece, which can be experienced in 2023.

Emma Fält (FI) and Anna-Maria Väisänen (FI) have been working with local Kuopio residents aged over 60 in weekly workshops starting in early 2022. In collaboration with the workshop participants and artist Roberto Fusco (IT/FI), Fält and Väisänen are bringing the two-part Shared Futures project to the festival. The piece invites audiences to get involved in exploring the significant places in the festival city and collectively imagining the future of Kuopio 100 years from now.

We will collaborate with the deufert&plischke (DE) collective to set up A Worn World space in Kuopio city centre that invites visitors to spend their time, examine the social and bodily meanings related to clothing, and sew, knit, and have discussions.

Once again, the festival also fosters artistic research and residency work. We have continued the Residency Program for Impossible Performance with the Reality Research Center (FI), and Anna Cadia (FI) is starting a two-year residency at the festival, during which they will search for, examine and probe non-binary realities and stages. This work will already be shared this year, and Binary The Trilogy will be premiered at the 2023 ANTI Festival. Students from Aalto University (FI) will carry out diverse projects, interventions, performances and exhibitions in public spaces. This project is part of a long-term collaboration between ANTI Festival and Aalto University, in which the festival serves as a platform for a course in artistic research.

The artistic programme is complemented by the Meet the Makers series of discussions that enables the festival artists, makers and partners to share their thoughts about the festival themes.

We will also get to experience the artworks of the previous years’ ANTI Festival International Live Art Prize winners. Brian Fuata (AU), who won the prize in 2020, has finally been able to work in Kuopio, and based on his residency work, he will present us with his new solo work, Intermission, which has been integrated into the Kuopio City Theatre’s facilities. Alex Baczinsky-Jenkins (PL/UK), the recipient of the prize in 2021, will present his new feature choreography Unending love, or love dies, on repeat like it’s endless, which unfolds politics of desire and traces queer histories.